Beer Caddy - 2020 Beer Swap

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Project by JD77 posted 09-21-2020 01:04 AM 588 views 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For the 2020 LJ Beer Swab, I was given Keeble1’s name. I looked around for some inspiration without success until my wife asked if I was planning on saving some scrap 2×4’s I was pulling out from a small remodel. She said they just looked nicer than usual and assumed that was why I was pulling all the nails. In fact, there just wasn’t enough room in the trash so they needed to be stacked a little nicer until the kids could haul them out. She was right, they were unusually straight grained. I ended saving 3 full-length cedar 2×4, and several shorts. After cleaving off the split bits, I used a couple of the shorts to make some thin strips to make the most of the grain.

Next, I tried soaking them for a few hours. The strips showed a lot of splotchy staining, almost like an iron acetate ebonizing solution and they didn’t really get more flexible, same issue with splitting. I did let the panel dry and then sanded the splotches off, but it wasn’t great looking. I then applied a sanding coat of shellac and realized I would need to disassemble to properly sand it. I also tried ebonizing a whole set of strips, but I didn’t really like it.

I started playing around with the strips and got to making a woven pattern. Once I had that idea, I figured I wouldn’t be making a tankard out of it, so I settled on a tote.

The weaving was about as simple as you can imagine. The strips were around 1/16in thick and 5/8in wide. I had enough for a few practice attempts and I first tried a dry assembly from the middle out, just to see if they were flexible enough. It worked, but I split a few ends if I wasn’t careful to hold the entire width of the strip. I thought about a dab of glue at each cross, but never did since the panel was fairly rigid and I planned to put a frame around it anyway. I’m guessing it would have been a mess

I ended up making another batch of longer strips and pre-sanded and pre-finished those, just regular shellac. Some of the strips are not quite as pretty as the originals, so that is something to think about next time as well. Assembly was dry and I started from one corner so that I was only manipulating the edge with long tails which helped with the cracking. After the panel was assembled, I cut the strips to length with a sharp chisel. Spacing was done by eye.

I cut a thin dado, 1/8in, in the surrounding frame and inserted the edges. The fit was snug since it was two layers of the weaving, but not tight. I did add a little wood glue to the dado to add rigidity to the panel. I don’t think expansion will be an issue at that small scale.

The sides and rails of the caddy are walnut milled to about 3/8in thick. I wanted to keep it as light as possible. The bottom is a panel I glued up from the remaining cedar strips that were getting too small to run through the table saw safely and a little walnut to accentuate the straight grain of the cedar.

There is also a cedar accent strip set in the top of the walnut handle. Once that had dried, the handle blank was cove milled on the table saw, then the finger holes were drilled and the ends were shaped with the drill press, pull saw, and lots of sanding.

The overall design reminded me of one of those beer adds from the late 60’s early 70’s. Once assembled, everything got a coat of Howard’s Feed’n’wax and buffed.

As an extra gift, I took a cutoff of the bottom panel and epoxy’d it to a bottle opener blank to make a matching bottle opener. Thanks to Keebler for sending me the finished pics, since I managed to box it up before remembering to get some for this post. I had a great time with the group and I hope more of you can join us in the next one.

13 comments so far

View clieb91's profile


4038 posts in 4817 days

#1 posted 09-21-2020 01:33 AM

JD, Really neat design. Look like you might have forgotten the finished pics but documented the process very well. Good to have for future reference.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6005 posts in 1465 days

#2 posted 09-21-2020 01:59 AM

Nice work, JD! That’s a keeper caddy for Keebler! I really like the way the woven strips turned out.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mikeacg's profile


1723 posts in 1940 days

#3 posted 09-21-2020 02:13 AM


It has been driving me crazy for days to find out who did this great woven strip beer caddy! You did an amazing job (and don’t feel bad about forgetting to take pictures! I’m pretty sure a few of us have done that in the past). Great job on your write-up as well! I hope you decide to keep swapping with us!


-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View torus's profile (online now)


494 posts in 1296 days

#4 posted 09-21-2020 02:42 AM

This is one original beer caddy: weaved sides, stripped bottom, coved “pagoda style” handle. Just great!

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


2125 posts in 430 days

#5 posted 09-21-2020 09:17 AM

+10 on originality. I like the way you set up to cut the cove.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View jeffswildwood's profile


4641 posts in 2860 days

#6 posted 09-21-2020 12:08 PM

This came out amazing. Wow, a lot of work went into the basket weave but you really pulled it off. Great job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View 489tad's profile


3901 posts in 3894 days

#7 posted 09-21-2020 02:02 PM

You did a great job with this project. So many possible ideas will come from this. I like how you held the squares on the table saw.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View HokieKen's profile


15157 posts in 2021 days

#8 posted 09-21-2020 02:22 PM

Very well done JD! Thanks for joining in this year!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View therealSteveN's profile


6454 posts in 1457 days

#9 posted 09-21-2020 02:44 PM

Pigs ear, into a silk purse. Nice job.

-- Think safe, be safe

View JD77's profile


88 posts in 572 days

#10 posted 09-21-2020 05:48 PM

Thanks guys.

Steven, silk purse maybe, but also alot of sawdust. Cedar makes a mess!

Brian, I normally just clamp some boards across the table saw but for some reason I was having problems getting them clamped. I stumbled on using the speed squares with my joiner push block. Its long and low enough I could easily pass it under the clamp from where I was standing on the backside of the saw. (I’m a lefty but the orientation could be easily flipped)

Mike, my only regret is that its not my first time to forget!


View EarlS's profile


4009 posts in 3231 days

#11 posted 09-21-2020 06:12 PM

Clever use of a tubafor scrap to make the pieces to weave together. The grain in the strips really adds to the look.

My wife would promptly “borrow” it to use as a magazine caddy, or a storage caddy for her craft supplies.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View duckmilk's profile


4362 posts in 2207 days

#12 posted 09-21-2020 09:36 PM

Very nice JD. The idea and method were both really clever.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View hairy's profile


3121 posts in 4415 days

#13 posted 09-22-2020 11:44 AM

That’s just great! I’ve had an idea bouncing around in my for a while using woven strips. Your way of doing it looks better than what I had in mind.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

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